AIF Blog

2018 Film Lineup

Jun 14, 2018


Anote Tong, former president of the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati, prepares to speak in Paris on the future of his nation and rising sea levels. He appears in filmmaker Matthieu Rytz's new film Anote's Ark, which will be shown at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

The films screened at Aspen Ideas and Spotlight Health are open to the public. Public tickets for films go on sale 9am (MST) June 15.



Science Fair (June 21st)

From National Geographic Documentary Films, Science Fair follows nine high school students from around the globe as they navigate rivalries, setbacks, triumphs — and, inevitably, hormones — on their journey to compete at the 2017 International Science and Engineering Fair. Facing off against 1,700 of the smartest, quirkiest teens from 78 different countries, only one will earn the Gordon E. Moore Award as Best of the Best. A post-screening discussion of this sneak peek film will illuminate the excitement of the competition. Run time: 90 minutes

Far from the Tree (June 22nd)

Discover the courage of compassion through the eyes of parents journeying toward acceptance of their unique children. Based on Andrew Solomon’s best-selling book, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, this film offers a deeply personal view of what it means to parent a child with autism, Down syndrome, or short stature, or to have raised a teenager who murders a little boy. Directed by Rachel Dretzin, this sneak peek screening will be followed by a discussion with Solomon and some of the parents featured in the film. Run time: 93 minutes


The Tale (June 23rd)

The Tale probes one woman’s memory as she is forced to reexamine her own experience of sexual abuse, and exposes the stories survivors tell themselves in order to move forward. The film stars Laura Dern (two-time Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner), Ellen Burstyn (Academy Award winner), and the rapper Common (Academy Award winner). Jennifer Fox, a Sundance Grand Prize winner and Emmy-nominated director, wrote and directed The Tale, which is based on her own story. She will participate in the post-screening discussion, along with an expert on the trauma of sexual abuse. Run time: 114 minutes



Anote’s Arc (June 24th)

What if your country was swallowed by the sea? The Pacific Island nation of Kiribati (population: 100,000) is one of the most remote places on the planet, seemingly far-removed from the pressures of modern life. Yet it is one of the first countries that must confront the main existential dilemma of our time: imminent annihilation from sea-level rise. While Kiribati’s President Anote Tong races to find a way to protect his nation’s people and maintain their dignity, many Kiribati are already seeking safe harbour overseas. Set against the backdrop of international climate and human rights negotiations, Anote’s struggle to save his nation is intertwined with the extraordinary fate of a young mother of six, who fights to migrate her family to New Zealand. At stake is the survival of the Kiribati people, and 4,000 years of Kiribati culture. Film is followed by a discussion with filmmaker, Matthieu Rytz.


306 Hollywood (June 25th)

With boundless creativity and an irrepressible bouncing energy, 306 Hollywood memorializes and honors the life of the filmmakers’ grandmother Annette Ontell. Housewife, fashion designer, and beloved family member, Ontell lived seven decades in the same house—306 Hollywood Avenue in Hillside, New Jersey. Ultimately a profound reflection on how we examine and deal with the past, the film can also be viewed as a quirky instruction manual on how to live in the present. By turns elegiac, celebratory, and edgy, with extrapolations ranging from the Rockefellers to Rome, 306 Hollywood moves unexpectedly but inevitably, like a beautiful murmuration of birds. It remains intellectually adventurous while playfully peeking into odd corners and exploring shifts in scale. With a lovely familial touch and a fresh musical score, it is also a crazy smart fun watch.


The Miseducation of Cameron Post (June 26th)


Based on the celebrated novel by Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows the titular character (Chloë Grace Moretz) as she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center after getting caught with another girl in the back seat of a car on prom night. Run by the strict and severe Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) and her brother, Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.)—himself an example of how those in the program can be “cured”—the center is built upon repenting for “same sex attraction.” In the face of intolerance and denial, Cameron meets a group of fellow sinners including the amputee stoner Jane (Sasha Lane), and her friend, the Lakota Two-Spirit, Adam (Forrest Goodluck). Together, this group of teenagers form an unlikely family and fight to survive.


The Sentence (June 27th)

THE SENTENCE explores the devastating consequences of mass incarceration and mandatory minimum drug sentencing through the story of Cindy Shank, a mother of three young children serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison for her tangential involvement in a Michigan drug ring years before. A lyrical, intimate story documented over 10 years by Cindy's younger brother, filmmaker Rudy Valdez, THE SENTENCE follows Cindy’s struggles to be present in her children's lives from behind bars and her daughters' experiences growing up without their mother at home, while her husband, parents and siblings fight for her release before the last months of the Obama administration's Clemency Project.


Burden (June 28th)

Mike Burden (Garrett Hedlund) is a taciturn repo man rising through the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan in small-town South Carolina, 1996. Orphaned as a child, he is fiercely loyal to local Klan leader and toxic father figure Tom Griffin (Tom Wilkinson). But Burden has a change of heart when he falls for Judy (Andrea Riseborough), a single mother who stirs his social conscience. His violent break from the Klan sends him into the open arms of Reverend Kennedy (Forest Whitaker), an idealistic African American preacher, who offers him safety and a shot at redemption. Based on a true story, writer/director Andrew Heckler’s debut drama is an unflinching examination of the neo-Confederate heritage of hatred and a moving character study about the hard work of undoing racism. Through Hedlund’s nuanced performance and Heckler’s sensitive exploration of class, race, and family—both genetic and adopted—this cautiously optimistic vision of social progress is at once a reflection on the stubborn roots of American racism and an urgent window into contemporary conflicts in the age of the alt-right.


Of Fathers & Sons (June 29th)

After his Sundance award-winning documentary Return to Homs, Talal Derki returned to his homeland where he gained the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily life for over two years.  His camera focuses mainly on the children, providing an extremely rare insight into what it means to grow up with a father whose only dream is to establish an Islamic Caliphate. Osama (13) and his brother Ayman (12) are in the center of the story. They both love and admire their father and obey his words, but while Osama seems to follow the path of Jihad, Ayman wants to go back to school. The film captures the moment when the children have to let go of their youth and are finally turned into Jihadi fighters. No matter how close the war comes—one thing they have already learned: they must not cry.